How to Crochet: Reverse Single Crochet or Crab Stitch

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 27 Comments

The reverse single crochet stitch, also known as the crab stitch, is made by doing single crochet stitches. With one major difference: the stitches are done in the opposite direction. So right-handed people work the reverse sc from left to right, and left-handed people from right to left.

This stitch is pretty distinctive; it looks ridged and makes a nice finishing option for crochet items. I personally love using this stitch for bag handles and baby things–it makes items sturdier. And it looks like a hand-sewn edging, too. It looks great when worked as an edging using a contrasting or coordinating color.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for the crab stitch, or reverse sc. Mousing over the images will show the photos for the left-handed tutorial.

Insert hook into stitch to the right, for right-handed crocheters; and to the left for left-handed people. Yarn over.

Pull yarn through and out of the stitch.

Two loops on hook.

Yarn over.

Pull through both loops.

One reverse sc, or crab stitch, made.

I hope that was helpful! If you need more help, just leave a comment below.

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  1. Liv says:

    Thanks, Claire – I like the look of this stitch a lot! Though it felt a little unnatural, I got through the first row just fine – but now I am stumped. Where do I insert the hook in this stitch? Without the standard two top loops, I’m not quite sure where to insert the hook. Thanks!

  2. Claire says:

    Hiya Liv, that was fast! This stitch is usually done as the last row on projects. I haven’t tried doing otherwise… Maybe you could experiment on ways to build on the crab stitch. Try working stitches into different loops of the stitch. Maybe you’ll come up with a brand new technique! I think that a row of reverse sc looks sort of like an unfinished Tunisian row… Maybe you can try that.

  3. Liv says:

    Gotcha! Fast reply, too! Thanks, Claire – makes much more sense as a last row! I played around briefly but didn’t really try too hard – considering it is 1:00 in the morning. :) I have tried Tunisian using the tutorial on this site. I like the look of it but I am never able to make it work – it always ends up being completely diagonal. Since I am starting to get into knitting (and Tunisian basically gives the look of knitting to a crochet piece) I haven’t tried very hard with that, either. I am making myself sound like a really fairweather crocheter! But if it’s something I am really trying to master I will look up videos on youtube and keep putzing til I figure it out!

  4. Metta says:

    Liv, the crab stitch is a great way to finish necklines on tops, since it keeps them from stretching. I always feel totally handicapped when I do it, though, since it is so opposite from all the other crochet stitches!

  5. Lillian Tremblay says:


    Thanks for the reverse sc – it makes a beautiful edging. Perhaps a little clarification should be made in your instructions – finish your last row on the right side and don’t turn your work…maybe I had a bit too much egg nog but it took me awhile to figure it out!! it makes a very unique edging great for potholders or as mentioned a baby blanket.

  6. isonprize says:

    Claire, thank you so much for ‘flipping’ the pictures for us lefties. That is just one of the things that I love about this website. This stitch has always stumped me. I’ve always heard that it’s great as the last row of a top, but I could never figure it out. Thanks again!

  7. Erin says:

    I am going to add this to the next item I make. Thanks for the tutorial.
    I’m not a lefty, but I thought it was nice that you included a lefty tutorial.

  8. kaytea says:

    wow! i am soooo stumpted! mine just kinda turn out ugly and twisted… …idk

    • Claire says:

      Hi kaytea, you might be doing everything right; the stitch just looks and feels kind of weird–because it is worked in the opposite direction. Maybe work more stitches and see if they turn out more evenly. :)

  9. dawnhouston says:

    i need help with reversesinglecrochet seem like i ben all over the web still ant get that stitch yet

  10. dawnhouston says:

    can any one help me with the reversesingle crochet

    • Rachel says:

      Dawn, this is the tutorial for the reverse single crochet. Let me know which part of the stitch you need help with and I can try and help you better.

  11. dawnhouston says:

    the first and last i can,t form my hook right i will keep practice until you able to help me

  12. dawnhouston says:

    this is dawnhouston letting u know i bout got it together but if you still wont to leave me something that fine every practice make perfect

  13. Susan Miller says:

    Thanks again for the lefty help….I couldn’t get how to transpose this stitch with the usual youtube videos.

  14. Irene says:

    Wow thanks for that… so simple when you know how.
    Greetings from Sunny SA…although it is currently raining.
    Found this very helpful as needing to finish off a cap…also done a blanket in Tunisian crochet and thing it may give it an interesting edge

  15. Kani says:

    Thank you, Rachel! So helpful and clear!

  16. Freda Viviers says:

    Thank you so much for your clear instructions. I have tried different tutorials and explanations but still struggled. With your tutorial, however, it became clear and I’m now smiling while working in the opposite direction….

  17. Mark says:

    Hi Everyone! I am working on a simple ripple afghan for my older sister. I have just about finished it, but I was wondering how I would finish it off. I think this crab stitch would be a great way to finish it at the top and at the bottom. I am going to put short tassels on the sides. Thanks for the idea!

  18. Sharon says:

    Super site..still not zipping along with crab stitch but I am persistent. Thanks for such great tutorials This is now mt favorite how to spot. Sharon in mid michigan

  19. Laurie Murphy says:

    I’m starting an afghan pattern for a crab stitch; however, this calls for doing the crab stitch in the ‘front loop only’ b/c it wants you to do a ‘double crochet’ on the return in the back loops of the crab stitch on the previous row.
    I apologize if this is confusing; but I am as confused as my comment.

    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

  20. Dianne says:

    Hi can u show me how to do 1 row sc next row reverse sc for 10 rows not sure where I start the sc row after the reverse sc

  21. Dianne says:

    I am not sure where to started sc on the row below is reverse sc My pattern says 1 row sc next row reverse sc repeat these to row 10 times can u show me how to do these steps

  22. Traci DeOchoa says:

    Hi there. Quick question to make sure I understand! If I’m doing the crab stitch to.finish a hat, I’ll want the right side facing me, correct? Thanks in advance!

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